Seven fights into his UFC career, Kevin Holland finds himself as popular as ever.
Holland’s personality and fighting style have always been fan friendly. He’s a talker, the type of talker that will compliment his opponent for a great strike but also let him know that he’s going to get knocked out. He’s loud, so loud that in his UFC debut at UFC 227, UFC President Dana White could hear Holland trash talking current light heavyweight contender Thiago Santos…while Santos was punishing Holland on the ground.
Gift of gab aside, Holland is mainly gaining popularity because he’s damn good. In two short years, Holland has gone 5-2 in the Octagon, finishing three of his wins and more than proving that he is a real prospect at middleweight.
On Saturday, Holland will compete at UFC Vegas 11 against Darren Stewart. It will be Holland’s third fight since the UFC started hosting events during the COVID-19 pandemic, and his second fight in 43 days. The reason for the quick turnaround is simple for “Trailblazer” - it’s where he finally feels at peace.
“Being able to fight is peace, being able to display the skills means I’m at peace for 15 minutes, 5 minutes, 3 minutes 49 seconds, however long the fight goes,” Holland told UFC.com. “We get here, and we go through a lot of things. It sucks on fight week, you kind of miss home, but man, when you make that walk and they lock that door [pauses] that’s peace. That’s better than going to sleep at night.”
Holland wants to keep the momentum going against Stewart and he knows that extending his win streak to three puts him in a good position heading into the final portion of 2020. But when it comes to breaking into the rankings and fighting big names, that isn’t something that Holland concerns himself with. Holland is in it for money and the love of the game.
“The check is the check so it doesn’t matter who we’re fighting, what we’re doing. I’m not these other guys running around here trying to get the biggest and the best name I could get,” Holland said. “If it happens it happens, if it doesn’t it doesn’t. You keep me fighting, I’m happy. I’m not that picky, I’m not that choosy. I just want to fight, get in there, collect the check and break a neck.”
Next up for Holland is “The Dentist,” who, like Holland, didn’t need to go three rounds to earn a victory at UFC Vegas 8. It’s a matchup that excites Fort Worth’s Holland and one that he believes will bring out the best in him.
“I plan on getting out there and not letting what happened in the last fight, none of that matters. It’s a whole new guy a whole different ball game it’s a whole new style and I gotta go out there and beat that style,” Holland said. “Whatever happened with (Joaquin) Buckley, that was Buckley. Whatever happened with “Fluffy” (Anthony Hernandez), that was “Fluffy”, and whatever happened in the Brendan Allen fight, that was the Brendan Allen fight. He’s just a whole different guy. I gotta go out there and show him what’s up now. The last couple fights have been pretty good, so I’m looking forward to this fight being fireworks. Darren Stewart always brings it.
“It should be one hell of a fight right.”
Don’t miss Holland and Stewart duke it out on UFC Vegas 11, which airs live on ESPN+ Saturday at 8pm ET / 5pm PT.